Additional counselling services for First Australians in Innisfail

Mamu Health Service Limited will be able to provide additional counselling services in Innisfail and outreach locations including Tully, Babinda and Ravenshoe, thanks to a $356,832 investment in the community by the Coalition Government.

Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion, said that Mamu Health Service Limited would receive funding to expand existing services to deliver Domestic Violence and Alcohol and Other Drugs counselling services to address family violence and other social issues for both victims and perpetrators through until 30 June 2019.

“Improving the safety of Indigenous families and communities is one of the highest priorities for the Coalition Government – and this investment will enable the Mamu Health Service to provide additional support to people who need it the most,” Minister Scullion said.

Northern-based Senator and Chair of the Northern Australia Development White Paper Implementation Oversight Committee, Ian Macdonald, said that through the Indigenous Advancement Strategy (IAS), the Government was providing targeted investment to those working on the ground to make a difference in the lives of First Australians.

“This project is a great example of the Coalition working with Indigenous Australians to improve outcomes for First Australians living in Innisfail and outreach locations including Tully, Babinda and Ravenshoe,” Senator Macdonald said.

Mamu Health Service Limited (Mamu HSL) CEO Bevan Ah Kee said since they were able to change the purpose of the funding in 2015 from community information and referral services to domestic violence and drug and alcohol counselling and support services. 

“These were the priority issues at the time of the change and still remain two years later.  It has allowed us to deal with the client’s issues rather than shuffle them along the service system.  It has increased the range of services Mamu HSL has to offer its clients in efforts to cater for the physical, social and emotional wellbeing of the community. 

“The change in scope has resulted in several hundred clients receiving dedicated support and counselling for substance misuse and/or domestic and family violence matters.  The funding enables the continued operation of the eight week ‘Better changes for the future’ domestic violence perpetrators program co-facilitated by Innisfail Youth and Family Care and Mamu HSL.  This program has been operating since April 2016 and has seen approximately eighty individuals referred by the local Magistrate with zero reoffending rates for domestic violence offences to date,” Mr Ah Kee said.

The Mamu Health Service project is one of 43 recently funded under the IAS.  Services have been funded to provide intensive support to Indigenous people most affected in the following areas: alcohol and drugs, domestic violence, mental health and wellbeing, and youth offending.

Existing service providers will share $18,019,301 in Government funding through until 30 June 2019 to transition from the Indigenous Community Links programme to new place-based, intensive support services that address specific safety and wellbeing needs. A further $4,239,664 will be provided until 30 June 2019 for new services in areas where a safety and wellbeing service gap has been identified.

The final year of funding is dependent on the projects providing strong outcomes for their clients.

 Service providers will be asked to collect service data to assess the impact of the service, to better understand what works to overcome Indigenous disadvantage and contribute to the evidence base.

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